This year’s GODADDY.COM Bowl in Mobile, AL on Thursday January 6 (8:00pm ET) will feature the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee (6-6) out of the Sun Belt Conference squaring off against the Miami of Ohio Redhawks (9-4) from the Mid-American Conference. The Redhawks have won five straight games coming into this contest, after starting 4-4 this season including a 26-21 victory in the MAC Title Game over then-number 24 ranked Northern Illinois on December 3. The Redhawks captured their first MAC Title since 2003 after finishing 1-11 last season; they will be coached by interim Head Coach Lance Guidry in this game after Mike Haywood left for Pittsburgh, where he was subsequently fired after 16 days as head man. A win over the Blue Raiders would give Miami the largest single-season turnaround in FBS history.
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Middle Tennessee’s defense has been tough against the pas this season, finishing 22nd in the nation with an average of 190.8 yards per game allowed this season. Overall, the Blue Raiders have allowed 27.5 points per game and 376.4 YPG, both ranking 67th in the country. Their run defense has allowed 193.7 YPG and 23 rushing TDs this season. They are led by Sun Belt defensive player of the year Jamari Lattimore on defense. On offense, they tied for the most turnovers in the country with 33, and are led by signal caller Dwight Dasher, who has been erratic this season throwing for 6 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He is a dual-threat QB and one of only 15 players in NCAA history to throw for 5,000 yards and run for 2,000.
The Redhawks are led offensively by quarterback Austin Boucher, who threw for 33 yards and a TD against NIU in the MAC Championship Game, and has averaged 233.6 yards over the last three games after taking over for starter Zac Dysert who lacerated his spleen on November 10. Running back Thomas Merriweather has averaged 111.4 yards per game with 6 TDs during the five-game winning streak.
Middle Tennessee has a 4-1 record ATS when playing a team with a winning record and they are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games. The Redhawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and the under is 16-5 in their last 21 games. The under is 8-3-1 in the Blue Raiders last 12 games against a team with a winning record and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games overall.
Middle Tennessee vs. Miami Ohio Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders -2.5
@ Miami Ohio Redhawks +2.5
Over 49 (-110)
Under 49 (-110)
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Middle Tennessee vs. Miami Ohio Prediction for GODADDY.COM Bowl:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) – The Raiders are a very shaky favorite in this game, and they match up unfavorably with a Miami of Ohio team that comes into the game on a serious roll. Middle Tennessee’s inability to hold on to the football will hurt them in this game against a Miami team that while not an offensive juggernaut, should still be able to capitalize given a short field to work with. Miami has a strong running game, and the Blue Raiders have not been able to stop the run, that combined with their turnover prone offense and Miami’s ability to avoid turnovers will be the key to the game, and victory for the Redhawks
Over/Under Prediction – Take the under here with Miami running the football and Middle Tennessee’s inability to stop the run, they should be able to control the tempo of the game and keep Dasher on the sidelines for much of the game. Miami is not exactly explosive on offense, averaging only 20.5 points per game, 103rd in the nation. The Redhawks are tough against the run which will negate the only real strength that the Blue Raiders have on offense and keep the score down below 48.5.